Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Stroke Survival: Blood Pressure Issues

I know you've heard the saying of too much of anything is bad. I always talk about balance. Too low or slow is bad. Too high or rapid is bad. The same thing is true with your blood pressure. Did you know that high blood pressure is not only from bad habits like too much salt and over eating? My four-month old grandson has high blood pressure too!

The only reason the pediatrician can find for this is a strong family history for this problem. Needless to say, everyone is watching him carefully. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for stroke and heart disease. He also has those things in his genetic mixed soup too which isn't a good thing. The genetic markers of family health issues is one thing I wish I could change about the legacy I passed down to my children and future generations. Like his brother's diabetes at age 4 years old. But we can't change our families.

High blood pressure was one of the risk factors that I gained from birth, but it was only a tendency. My strokes were caused by blood clots breaking free from my damaged heart. Coupled with thinning and hardening of my arteries, also a dual family history trait, didn't help. But I look at this precious infant just discovering the world aroumd him and curse genetics.

So how does my daughter combat the high blood pressure in her son? Well for one, she continues to breast feed him. She is also on a low sodium diet. What she eats affects what she feeds him. She makes all his baby food except cereal too. The only sodium she uses is what is found naturally in food. Now, keep in mind, my daughter has no blood pressure issues, but she is doing all of this for her son.

She comes by this naturally so it is no sacrifice for her. She grew up in a organic, low added sodium household. She is also on a low dose blood pressure medicine which passes through her breast milk to my grandson. It doesn't affect her blood pressure too strongly. She finds the more she exercises, strolling the block with her children, the stronger her body counteracts the medicine. But the result is my grandson's blood pressure is now under control. She is also doing baby type exercises with him, not that he's overweight. He is actually small for his age, but doing more.

When you do everything possible to prevent harming your body, sometimes it's the genetic roll of the dice that affects your future. That's what we are praying doesn't happen for my grandchildren who are exhibiting all these genetic health markers at a younger age. With eight grandchildren, I've got a pretty good mix of genetics and dilution from their father to follow. With diabetes, cancer, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, arthritis to name just a few, I'm seeing all of these in a number of them.

So how do you balance the Russian roulette of genetic factors? Try to dilute the gene pool as much as possible through the fathers. Unfortunately this didn't happen for my children or my grandchildren. They ended up with double whammies. The same medical issues on both sides of the families. Poor kids. We don't often think of medical histories when choosing the fathers of our children and maybe we should.

Nothing is impossible.


  1. Hi Jo - I hear you .. and it's an interesting thought to chose the father's of our babies by their genetics.

    I feel for everyone - as you say there's nothing we can do - except deal with each situation as best possible ...

    He looks a delight and I'm so pleased your daughter is doing so much for him ... to help him with an easier start in life, than just letting things be - all the best ...cheers Hilary

  2. Good luck to you all on blood pressure! Mine is high, but my sodium is low. I add salt to everything I eat. Talk about balance!


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